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Broncos begin offseason conditioning with double their offensive payroll

Russell Wilson brings the biggest positional jump in payroll but GM Paton figures to bump up RB, and TE positions by draft's end.

DENVER — Thanks largely to the acquisition of quarterback Russell Wilson, there is a better financial balance on the Broncos’ roster this year.

Last year, the Broncos finished with the 32nd-ranked offensive payroll in the NFL at $44.85 million. That’s 32 out of 32 NFL teams. For 2022, Broncos’ general manager George Paton nearly doubled his offensive payroll to $88.97 million, which still only ranks 23rd in the league.

Two positions where the Broncos rank at the bottom of NFL payrolls is running back (No. 32, $3.14 million) and tight end (No. 31, $3.04 million). Look for Paton to address those positions in the draft, if not sooner through the final waves of free agency.

The team’s two highest-paid players by position: Left tackle Garett Bolles, whose $17 million salary ranks 3rd among blindside protectors in the NFL, and Justin Simmons, whose $15.1 million cash payout in 2022 ranks No. 2 among safeties.

Wilson brings in a $24 million salary for 2022 that ranks 12th among NFL quarterbacks. Last year, Teddy Bridgewater ($4.5 million), Drew Lock ($1.13 million) and Brett Rypien ($165,600) had the Broncos ranked near the bottom of the QB payrolls.

Entering the Broncos’ offseason program that begins with physicals and conditioning Monday, their defense has the 11th-ranked payroll at $95.7 million. That’s up from their 20th-most at $69.63 million to finish last year – although it was much higher before Von Miller and his $18 million salary were traded away at midseason and Pat Surtain II, Ronald Darby and Kareem Jackson spent the final week on injured reserve.

A look at the Broncos’ tentative starting lineups with their scheduled cash payouts and their positional cash ranking for 2022 (per Spotrac):

OFFENSE

QB: Russell Wilson ($24 million, 12th)

WR: Courtland Sutton ($12 million, 21)

WR: Tim Patrick ($6.25 million, 33)

WR: Jerry Jeudy ($1.99 million, 70)

RB: Javonte Williams ($1.06 million, 60)

FB: Andrew Beck ($1.25 million, 12)

TE: Albert Okwuegbunam ($895,000, T-69)

LT: Garett Bolles ($17 million, 3)

LG: Dalton Risner ($2.79 million, T-34)

C: Lloyd Cushenberry ($1.03 million, 36)

RG: Quinn Meinerz ($877,539, 116)

RT: Billy Turner ($2.5 million, 17)

DEFENSE

OLB: Randy Gregory ($14 million, 22)

OLB: Bradley Chubb ($13.93 million, 24)

DL: Dre’Mont Jones ($2.54 million, 46)

DL: D.J. Jones ($10 million, 12)

DL: Mike Purcell ($3.57 million, 39)

ILB: Josey Jewell ($6 million, 11)

ILB: Alex Singleton ($1.12 million, 42)

CB: Pat Surtain II ($1.61 million, 79)

CB: Ronald Darby ($9.8 million, 19)

CB: K’Waun Williams ($2.6 million, 51)

S: Justin Simmons ($15.1 million, 2)

S: Kareem Jackson ($2.5 million, T-46)

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Brandon McManus ($3 million, 16)

P: Sam Martin ($2.25 million, 9)

LS: Jacob Bobenmoyer ($895,000, T-25)

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